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Travel Amenity Kits

We’re thrilled to introduce a skillfully collaborated collection of Bella Lucce’s bestsellers, now offered in TSA-friendly sizes tucked inside chic cotton travel bags. Our new Travel Amenity Kits enable you to take your favorite Bella Lucce luxuries for face and body on the road no matter where your travels may take you. Whether you’re off on an adventure by plane, train or automobile, we wish you happy travels!

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From Morocco With Love

Shop Bella Luccè's nonprofit to discover a treasure trove of handmade Moroccan luxuries and learn how adding beauty to your life can change the lives of indigenous Berber people.
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Latest Obsession
Inspirational Jewlery from LuluBug

My teenage daughter recently left for a summer service trip to Thailand. I was scouring Etsy for a piece of inspirational jewelry to give her when I stumbled upon LuluBug. I’m smitten with her whimsical, original designs in sterling silver. My Chloe scored a locket that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…” but I’ve got my eye on several other pieces as well. Who could resist the “You are my sunshine” necklace?

Ingredient of the Month
Crushed Freshwater Pearls

Crushed Freshwater Pearls: Celebrated by Asian women and ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia for more than 3,000 years, pearl powder has a rich history and a myriad of legendary tales about its use at the Imperial Palace. Created by pulverizing real freshwater pearls, it is reputed to boost skins brightness and is rich in both amino acids and trace minerals.

Find it in: Shiitake & Green Tea Antioxidant Serum, Detoxifying Giinger-Wasabi Masque, Orchid & Crushed Pearl Body Creme

Food For Thought

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steve Jobs

Home Spa Rituals
Lavender- Honey Milk Bath

3 tbsp. Dried Lavender Flowers*
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk or Buttermilk
1/3 cup Honey

Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk, and honey in a glass bowl, then pour into a jar. Before each use, shake the jar and pour half of the mixture into the bath. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes enough for 2 baths.

*Dried lavender flowers can be found in the spice section of gourmet and specialty stores. (Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board)


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The Business of Fear

August 21, 2011

“Fear sells. Fear makes money. The countless companies and consultants in the business of protecting the fearful from whatever they may fear know it only too well. The more fear, the better the sales.” ~ Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear

The way that I perceive the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has evolved in some interesting ways over the years. Those I once trusted as friends of small business and champions of natural cosmetics have turned out to be neither. If you aren’t aware of my history with CFSC I invite you to read this summary, as well as my letter resigning our company name as a signatory to their campaign.

It’s been my opinion for several years now that their motives are questionable at best and the organization as a whole can’t be trusted. There’s a long track record that indicates a lack of transparency and the very nature of their organizational structure ensures that you can’t really track their funding. There are, however, some clues about who’s funding the parent organization and how those funds are being spent. Those clues indicate possible questions about Environmental Working Group’s business status since it functions as a lobbying group while maintaining a non-profit consumer interest group status that is exempt from filing federal tax returns like the rest of us. Since CFSC bills itself as a “coalition of key partners”, determining exactly who’s behind the organization, how they’re funded and what they’re plotting next is akin to nailing jello to a tree.

When a discussion arises about the motives of EWG/CFSC, questions inevitably follow about why those groups would move to inhibit small business and cripple the natural products market. In fairness, I believe that CFSC is an equal opportunity punisher: they want their hand in every pot- large and small- despite their claims to be “on the side” of small business. But what do they have to gain? people ask. Since the CFSC has been busy of late, crafting legislation on both the federal and state level, I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to explore various methods by which CFSC and the EWG stand to earn a windfall from new regulations:

Private Label Opportunities
There’s a theory that’s been bantered about for some time now about their involvement with private label labs. Essentially, private label companies manufacture stock cosmetics and package them according to the wishes of their clients. So Suzy Q Soapmaker in Wisconsin can offer a wide-range of personal care products from the comfort of her living room- having never stepped foot inside a manufacturing facility. A staff of cosmetic chemists in Arkansas formulate, produce and package her line of products under her brand name and according to her specifications. Colin Sanders, a cosmetic chemist in the UK, waxes poetic on the possibility of CFSC/EWG having a financial interest in these cosmetic labs, as small businesses who can no longer manufacture their own products in smaller facilities will flock to private label companies in order to stay in business. He claims CFSC’s widely circulated video “The Story of Cosmetics” is nothing more than a sales plug for private label labs and I have to agree that those companies certainly do stand to rake in the cash if pending legislation comes to pass. There will be far fewer manufacturers in the U.S., but they’ll potentially be manufacturing for thousands of smaller companies. Ca-ching!

Installing Themselves in Power Positions
Another theory is that CFSC/EWG want to introduce cosmetic legislation so that they can write themselves right into it; in turn, writing themselves into powerful jobs with cushy salaries. Tax filings show that they’ve become rather accustomed to those cushy salaries: Ken Cook, president of EWG, pocketed $240,000+ in salary in 2008. In fact, the top eight employees at EWG made a tidy $1,185,775 that year. The new legislation they’re helping craft in Massachusetts positions them beautifully on several levels. The bill defines Authoritative Body as “any federal, state, or private agency or formally organized program or group recognized pursuant to the General Laws as being authoritative for the purpose of identifying chemicals that cause cancer, or reproductive, or developmental toxicity.” I have no doubt that CFSC is chomping at the bit to formalize their position as the self-proclaimed gurus of cosmetic safety authority. And Section 4 of that same bill actually mandates that a Massachusetts-based business (who must also be a Campaign For Safe Cosmetics compact signatory) sit on the newly designed “Commission on Safe Cosmetics.” Yes, yes, I know that the bill also states that those who sit on the commission “shall not receive compensation.” But we all know that power is money and the “authoritative body” most certainly will be paid. Ca-ching!

Personal Posturing & Enrichment
Stacy Malkan, cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, is both an author and speaker- which means you can buy her books or book her for your next conference. I’ll give her a tip of the hat for being ingenious- she’s built an entire cottage industry based on fear with herself as a beneficiary. Her “expose” of the beauty industry lists for $15.95 a copy and I’m relatively certain that Ms. Malkan draws royalties based on sales, as is typical for the book industry. Her website bills her as “the lead media strategist for the cosmetics campaign” and lauds her appearances on major national media outlets, including: the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Good Morning America, San Francisco Chronicle and Martha Stewart Radio. Stacy has a booking agent and she was just in Hawaii speaking at a spa conference in the mornings and- surprise, surprise- available for private consultations in the afternoons. I do not claim to know what’s in Stacy’s heart. I don’t know her personal motivations. But I don’t think anyone can deny that her personal wallet has been enriched by creating fear in consumers. Ca-ching!

Creating Pricey Reference Materials Need for Compliance
The Consumer Specialty Products Association bills itself as: “the premier trade association representing the interests of some 250 companies engaged in the manufacture, formulation, distribution and sale of $80 billion annually in the U.S. of hundreds of familiar consumer products that help household and institutional customers create cleaner and healthier environments.” On June 29th of this year, CPSA released an update of their Consumer Product Ingredients Dictionary CD. The cost? A tidy $5400 for non-members. Want to request approval for the nomenclature of a new ingredient? That comes at the bargain basement price of just $200 per ingredient. With roughly 1,000 ingredients included, the CPSA already collected a potential $200,000 just for the approval of the ingredients, not to mention all the CD’s they can peddle at $5,000+ a pop. The CD is said to be “an essential reference for all companies in the household and specialty products industries.” Can’t you envision the CFSC positioning themselves in much the same way- generating pricy reference material for cosmetic manufacturers who are struggling to stay in compliance? Even better if there are fifty separate state laws to comply with. If I close my eyes, I can already see the legions of small businesses begrudgingly lining up to fork over $5,000 for a CD… it’s still cheaper than a full-time lawyer to monitor legislation, right? Ca-Ching!

Financial Interest in Cosmetic Safety Testing Labs
The safety testing mandated by all of this new legislation will most assuredly give birth to a new crop of laboratories. CFSC has certainly been aware of this fact for years and though I know of no definitive evidence linking them to financial interests of testing facilities at present, I think there is little doubt of the possibilities in that arena. Anne Marie Faiola prepared an estimate of testing expenses for a personal care product under the provisions of H.R. 5786, which was a forerunner to the pending federal legislation on the table now. Her findings are below:

$440.00 Paraben results in ppm
$950.00 Nitrosamine results in ppm
$950.00 Phthalate Free results in ppm
$700.00 per metal Heavy Metals (Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium) results in ppm
$275.00 Mercury results in ppm
$1185.00 Standard 9 Metals
$750.00 1,4 Dioxane results in ppm
$275.00 Formaldehyde results in ppm
$300.00 Ethylene Oxide results in ppm
$450.00 Residuals results in ppm
$1500.00 Fragrance allergens
$350.00 Fragrance Allergens Confirmation test per sample, per per allergen
Total $8125.00 or more pre-market testing per product

Multiply $8,125 by an estimated 100,000 individual cosmetic formulas currently on the American market and you reach the sum of $812,500,000 in new testing fees. Say it with me now: Ca-ching!


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Interesting summary of dotted line tracking. Your impressions are provocative indeed. We should all consider these things. My mother always told me that if it’s not obvious why someone is doing something, track the money trail to find at least a part of the answer. There is much food for thought here. Thanks for putting all of this together.


As a private label company myself I totally agree that these laws would be a cash cow for companies like mine. I have absolutely no desire to get rich of the broken dreams of others and will fight these bills beside you.


Yikes! Thank you so much for this Lela. To bad we can’t interview Stacy Malkan. It would be interesting to get the real truth of her motives. Thanks.



I freely admit that I have not had a dialogue with Stacy directly. My opinions are based on my time as a Compact Signatory, my attendance at their annual meeting and my dialogue with campaign leaders in regards to my concerns. As I stated, I am not privy to Stacy’s personal motivations, but she quite obviously has a financial stake in direction of the industry. Full (and obvious) disclosure: I have a financial stake as well, since I own a company that manufactures cosmetics.

However, I am of the strong opinion that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been less than transparent with the public and, unfortunately, their members as well. When Bella Lucce was a Compact Signatory, I had no idea what they were doing on Capitol Hill and was dumbfounded to learn they’d released a letter of support (in response to 2008 draft legislation) without so much as consulting their membership. Essentially, they had used my company name to support legislation which would put my company out of business.

They continue today to misguide the public in regards to cosmetic safety and current industry regulations. They continue to misrepresent the parameters of current federal legislation (SCA2011) and its impact on the public and small business. I don’t need to confirm that by talking to Stacy- the evidence is all around us.

Please know that I flew all the way to Boston to get the “truth of their motives.” I told CFSC leaders in advance that I was coming when they reached out to a few of us who were shocked at their support of the draft legislation. They said they would dialogue with industry leaders, including Donna Maria. I asked if DM could attend those meetings to help begin a dialogue and was told “no” outright. Upon my departure they promised to “reach out” to her and other small business leaders to help craft legislation…eleven months later, that dialogue hadn’t occurred, despite repeated attempts. That’s when I surrendered our name as a signatory. In response to my withdrawal, Connie Engel (“Program coordinator” for CFSC) requested that I outline my concerns so the Campaign could consider and address them. My detailed letter in response will soon celebrate its two year anniversary of being completely ignored. They didn’t even bother to respond. At least I’m in good company: when Lisa Rodgers had a direct chat with Stacy Malkan, she was told the Ccapiagn was interested in building common ground within the industry. Then Stacy vanished. Sound familiar?

Even if the Campaign suddenly decides to dialogue with their critics, do you think they’d be transparent about their financial interest in this? They’ve structured their entire organization as a consortium body that isn’t obligated to file tax returns so their funding is cloudy. Something tells me that transparency is not their forte.


You know who ultimately and sadly pays the price for this, are truth-seeking consumers who just want to buy and use safe cosmetics. In my opinion, fear is never a lasting motivator. Truth and honesty is a completely different story. They create trust and reliability.
I personally think extremism, either way, is very dangerous. It leaves no room for healthy communication. While I believe that CFSC began with noble intentions…they have set themselves up to be The “Authority” where safety and cosmetics are concerned. But, they elected themselves to this position. Some of us, by supporting them, helped perpetuate their authority. The message we hope to get out to consumers is now muddied and we each individually have to talk even louder to de-throne the authorities.
Surprisingly there are many things I do agree with in regards to ingredients with the CFSC. It’s a difficult situation because we want the same thing, I think. For now, we’re just going to communicate as “clean” as possible on products + services. Why? We don’t want to stop listening and learning. Clean today might mean dirty tomorrow. We’ve got to be open. Guess that’s the lesson I’d like the CFSC to get. (NO relation to the Suzy Q you mentioned in your post…lol)

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